What steps can I take to minimise the spread of infection
What steps can I take to minimise the spread of infection, particularly if I live with other people in shared accommodation?
COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Surfaces and belongings can also be contaminated with COVID-19 when people with the infection cough or sneeze or touch them. The risk of spread is greatest when people are close to each other, especially in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and when people spend a lot of time together in the same room.
It will be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others at home. You should do your very best to follow this guidance and everyone in your household should:
wash their hands more frequently, for 20 seconds, with soap and water or use hand sanitiser and avoid touching their face
regularly clean frequently touched surfaces
the stay at home guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection contains more detailed guidance on what to do about cleaning, disposal of waste, laundry and other useful information
Regular cleaning plays a vital role in limiting the transmission of COVID-19.
Reducing clutter and removing difficult to clean items can make cleaning easier. Increase the frequency of cleaning, using standard cleaning products such as detergents and bleach, paying attention to all surfaces but especially ones that are touched frequently, such as door handles, light switches, remote controls and electronic devices.
Cleaning should be more frequent depending on the number of people using the space, and whether they are entering and exiting the setting. Cleaning of frequently touched surfaces is particularly important in bathrooms and communal kitchens.
It is very unlikely that COVID-19 is transmitted through food. However, as a matter of good hygiene practice, anyone handling food should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before doing so.
Use a dishwasher to clean and dry your crockery and cutlery. If this is not possible, wash them by hand using washing up liquid and warm water and dry thoroughly using a separate tea towel. Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly and common kitchen appliances including fridge handles and kettles.
If available, operate a bathroom fan when the bathroom is in use and clean frequently touched surfaces regularly, as well as opening window/s (if available). Toilet lids should be closed before flushing to reduce aerosol droplets. Where cloth towels are used, these should be for individual use and laundered in accordance with washing instructions.
Increased attention should be paid to any potential defects in sanitary plumbing systems in residential blocks, such as unexplained odours.
Keeping indoor areas well-ventilated as much as is possible will reduce the risk of transmission by diluting internal air with fresh outside air. This should be balanced with other considerations such as comfort, safety and security.
Try opening windows or doors and using trickle vents if these are fitted to windows. Extractor fans, where fitted, should also be used as much as possible.
Windows do not need to be opened as wide in colder weather to achieve sufficient ventilation because the differences in temperature between the inside and outside increases the ventilation.
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